10 July 2018
Is This The Beginning of the End for UK High Streets?
So far in 2018, Carpetright and Prezzo have started to close a portion of their stores in a bid to save their brands, whereas Toys ‘R’ Us UK and Maplin haven’t been so lucky and are in administration. Smaller high street businesses are also closing on a regular basis, due to high expenditures they are unable to withstand.
The UK retail industry has taken another hit as footfall during April 2018 has experienced a significant drop. Paired with March’s plunge, this resulted in an unprecedented drop of 4.8%. A decline hasn’t been to this degree previously; even the same two month during the 2009 recession only had a decrease of 3.8%.
So Why Are Consumers Not Shopping in Stores?
British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) Chief Executive, Helen Dickenson commented “A wet start to April had dampening effects on visits across the UK’s shopping locations adding to the long term downward in footfall resulting from changing consumer behaviour.”
Many consumers prefer shopping online as they have more choice and can easily browse multiple companies’ websites to find the best deals, all from a place and at a time that’s convenient for them. They can also experience the benefits that going in store holds at the touch of a button, such as customer service.
Just as a consumer would be able to approach a member of staff within the store for help, live chat places your representatives in a key position allowing website visitors to get their questions answered quickly. Similarly, as a clerk would engage with an individual within the store to see if they need any help, a proactive implementation invites a visitor into chat, ensuring they have the opportunity to receive any assistance as they browse.
On the other side of the coin
Businesses also benefit from optimising their website and using live chat box for website software. The communication channel is cost-effective as fewer representatives are needed than in a store or to handle telephone or email enquiries. On average, one operator can handle 3 chats simultaneously depending on the complexity and speed of the typist. This potentially triples the amount of consumer queries being attended to at any one time and increases the chance of a sale occurring.
More consumers prefer to use live chat to contact a company and organisations are able to answer more enquiries with fewer representatives. This reduces their costs, and their overall profits can be improved, especially if the company doesn’t have expenditures relating to a brick and mortar store.
Some organisations that have physical stores as well as sell online will encourage their consumers to complete their purchase via their website. For example, I was due an upgrade on my mobile phone, I knew which company I was going to buy it from and which model I was getting, I just had to choose a package. I could get the same deal in store and online, in which case I was thinking about going in store to purchase as this is what I had done in the past. However, for the exact same price I could also get an extra 6GB of data if I went with their ‘only online’ deal. They dangled the carrot and I unhesitatingly went for it, saving the company from paying their representative commission on the sale and helping to boost their profits.
All they are missing from their website to digitalise the whole service is live chat. If I hadn’t known exactly what I had wanted or experienced issues on their website I would have needed instant help as I would have expected to receive in store. Organisations risk 57% of their online consumers abandoning their site if they can’t find the answer to their questions; chat box for website ensures your representatives are easily contactable without having to change device or platform.
It seems for retailers to remain in a strong position they need to find the balance between providing the service that is expected from a brick and mortar store and the convenience that a website offers. Luckily live chat fits that gap.
Click4Assistance has been providing live chat for over 10 years helping online retailers such as Harveys, Benson for Beds and Archery World to deliver great customer service at the push of a button. For more information on the solution, contact our team on 01268 524628 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.